Ohio State announced Friday in a letter to 115,000 alumni it would cover the cost of professionally certified counseling services needed by students who attended the university during the era of Dr. Richard Strauss.
With the independent investigation of Strauss nearing its completion, the university said it has engaged Praesidium to provide confidential support services to people who have gone through sexual misconduct to ensure that those who have been impacted by Strauss get the access to resources they need.
In the independent investigation, over 150 individuals have come forward saying they have experienced misconduct from Strauss in his time at Ohio State.
According to the letter, no contact with the university is required to utilize these support services.
After saying he had been sexually assaulted by Strauss in 1996, Brian Garrett, the lead plaintiff of one of two cases against the former Ohio State team physician, said he has been paying for counseling out of pocket and has received no help from the university.
Garrett mentioned the report that former Ohio State student Steven Snyder-Hill had turned in Strauss to former Student Health Services director Ted Grace in 1995, one year prior to his incident with the former Ohio State doctor.
“My situation was 100 percent preventable,” Garrett said. “I’ve had to deal with it on my own because they didn’t offer counseling. I’ve been paying for counseling out of my pocket. They are late to the game.”
A former doctor at Ohio State from 1978 to 1998, Strauss allegedly sexually abused both former student-athletes and former students as a team physician and employee at Student Health Services. Strauss also ran a private clinic from 1996 to 1998. The university is investigating if he abused patients at the clinic after he had left the university.
Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
The letter states that upon the completion of the investigation, Ohio State will address its findings and will “continue to take action to support a better and safer future.”
“The independent investigation is ongoing and is of the highest priority for the university,” Ohio State University President Michael Drake said in the letter. “Its purpose is to uncover what happened and determine what the university and its leaders at the time knew.”
According to a statement released by the university, its goal is to “lift up and support our community” as it continues its independent investigation.
“As the investigation reaches its concluding phase, we believe it is important to offer counseling services,” Chris Davey, Ohio State spokesman, said in a statement. “We continue to urge anyone who has information that could aid in the investigation to come forward and provide it to the independent investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Garrett said Ohio State is “late to the game” and that counseling should have been offered a long time ago. And given Ohio State’s motions to dismiss lawsuits and disagreements over mediators in the lawsuits, Garrett said the university does not appear to be showing support for the victims.
“They keep saying they want to make things right. Their actions and their legal process keep saying they are dismissing us,” Garrett said. ‘You heard the president of the university say, “We are not going to dismiss you and do what’s right.’ Yet all their legal actions state the complete opposite. So you want my feelings on it? They should have done this a long time ago.”